BATHURST’S Charlize Fitzpatrick and Macie Fulton backed up from their recent Australian Under 13s National Hockey Championships to have a tilt at the indoor variety, coming home with bronze from the Goulburn tournament.
The Bathurst juniors and their NSW Stars teammates put themselves within reach of gold by finishing inside the top three at the conclusion of the pool stage but it was their intrastate rivals NSW Lions who took the top prize.
The medal added to Fitzpatrick’s earlier outdoor gold with the NSW Lions, which she won alongside fellow Bathurst junior Lily Kable.
For Fulton the bronze was a welcome reward after narrowly missing out on the top three at the recent Hobart outdoor tournament with the Stars.
Fulton’s father Brad said the chance to play a different variety of representative hockey is always welcome.
“It’s different and it’s good that they can make state sides, travel, meet new people playing indoor hockey as well as outdoor,” he said.
“There’s certainly differences in the games but at that level the girls are very coach-able. It’s about how you exploit those differences and the girls cope with those messages easily.
“It was like any carnival. The more they went through it the more they learned.”
Signs were promising for Fitzpatrick, Fulton and the Stars at Goulburn.
Stars got off to a winning start against the Queensland Fire in a 3-0 result.
In the following NSW derby the Lions held a slender 2-1 lead in the break but flew away from the Stars in a 5-2 win, the Lions nailing three goals in the space of just five minutes early in the new half.
Stars survived a late fightback to down the Queensland Flare 4-3 then beat the ACT 4-1 on the back of a Jemma Murray first half hat trick.
The NSW girls wrapped up the opening pool stage with a 3-1 win over Victoria to secure a top three finish.
Unfortunately for the Stars the Fire got their revenge in a 2-1 result before the Lions secured the gold with a thrilling 4-3 victory – all but one of the goals coming in a furious first half of hockey.
The Lions had put themselves in a position to take home gold after accounting for the Fire 1-0.
“Because the Australian champs were in our home state we had great participation,” Fulton said.
“They were strong in outdoor as well so it’s a great year for the age group. Macie played more as a striker and Charlize as a defender and they both played very well.
“There were no troubles for them in picking up the indoor game and, the main thing in this age group, they both had a great time.”